The Queensland university admissions body has apologised after it accidentally emailed tens of thousands of year 12 students telling them they were “ineligible” for a university admissions score.
Due to an IT bungle, 24,000 students in the state received an email at midnight on Friday from the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, a week before official results were due to be released.
Instead of a score, the email said they were “Atar ineligble”.
An Atar – Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank – is a national score that is needed for admission to university.
This is the first year that Queensland students would receive an Atar, which is replacing the state’s Overall Position (OP) score.
Atars were due to be released on 19 December in Queensland but on Saturday morning thousands of students woke to find the erroneous email from the admissions body.
The chief executive of QTAC, John Griffiths, said in a statement that the emails were accidentally sent while the notification process was being tested ahead of next week.
“Regretfully, testing of the release information rolled out into our live production space, which issued Atar notifications to 24,000 year 12 students,” he said.
“As there is no data currently in the system, students may have received a notification that they are Atar ineligible. QTAC acknowledges this technical error and deeply apologises to our year 12 cohort. This has no doubt caused additional anxiety during what has already been a trying year for our school community.”
Student Ella Gilmore, 18, said she became scared when she read the email.
“I got quite panicked when it first arrived,” she said. “My school friends are all talking on group chat and they were all scared too.
“But we’ve figured out it is probably a mistake when we saw everyone in the state got the same email.”
“Can you explain why, at 12:03AM, myself and many other former Year 12 students received an email stating that we were ineligible for an ATAR rank?” Lochlan Ibbertson asked on the QTAC’s Facebook page.
“This is a disgrace.”
• Australian Associated Press contributed to this report